Sandusky’s pension and “The American way”

A Pennsylvania Court panel ruled on Friday that the State Employees’ Retirement Board wrongly concluded that Jerry Sandusky was a Penn State employee when he committed the crimes that were the basis for the pension forfeiture.  Three years ago, Sandusky was sentenced to prison after being convicted of molesting 10 children.  While one could easily conclude Sandusky doesn’t deserve a pension after committing such crimes, that was not the question before the court panel.  Personal opinion aside, a logical, transparent, process was followed and the result was the restoration of Sandusky’s pension. 

In contrast, two others situations this week exemplify what seems to be a growing disregard for the principle of law that was once seen as a cornerstone of the American (United States) experience.  The Supreme Court decided Friday to hear a Texas case that restricted women’s access to abortion services through the regulation of some health clinics.  Similar laws are being enacted by Republican controlled legislatures across the country.  The laws have the affect of regulating women’s rights without actually addressing the question of whether the State or the individual has the right to make decisions on a woman’s health care.

In conjunction with the Republican Presidential candidate debates On Tuesday, we have heard numerous comments regarding U.S. immigration policy.  These statements are almost universally presented in the form “If I were the benevolent despot of a fictional country I would…”  If we are to learn anything about how the next President would address immigration policy the question would greatly benefit from insights provided by Sen. Tim Kain of Virginia: Given the “pathological symbiosis between Executive overreach and Congressional abdication” how would you provide leadership regarding U.S. immigration policy?  This framing would require the candidates to address the realities inherent in our constitutional form of government.

When a transparent process is followed that supports both the letter and the spirit of the process, I can respect the outcome, even if it is not what I had hoped for.  When I see legal processes being used to undermined the principles that have supported our system of governing this country for almost 250 years, I am alarmed.  When I hear people who aspire to be President spouting rhetoric that doesn’t apply to the principles and processes they are seeking to be the chief steward of, I just think they are talking nonsense – in the truest sens of the word.

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